@TomBurgmann: My observation is that most 3D printers use material that is too flimsy to handle much stress. The thought of printing out a gear or even replacement cap seems like a high investment for an unsubstantial return on effort.
I believe there are different types of 3D printers, including "sintering" versions about which I know almost nothing. From my experiances so far (a few small test prints) using the plastic thread I would agree that prints created using this material aren't strong enough to take any serious loading.
Howerver, they would be more than stong enough for prototype enclosure, or to create my "scroll gears" -- just to demo the way the gears work -- not to carry any load.
I will report further when I've had more practice :-)
@Olaf: ...The original manufacturer wants 20 dollars for this little piece of plastic.
Did you see my column from yesterday about some new 3D design software called DesignSpark Mechanical? Once someone (like me) learns to use this, you could whip up the design for a part like that in a couple of minutes -- I think we've reache the turning point where 3D printers are going to change the world...
Maybe you could print me a new screw cap for the rinse aid reservoir of our dishwasher. It is broken. The original manufacturer wants 20 dollars for this little piece of plastic. I think they are crazy. ;-)
Sure thing!. It may take me a bit to get the CAD file done. First I have to get to the opener, which is 15' above the floor, then take out the stripped gear... Don't use up all your ABS supply too quickly!